"If Ophelia had been on the swim team," write Jean Zimmerman and Gil Reavill in this eye-opening report on the state of female athletics, "she might not have needed reviving." Raising Our Athletic Daughtersrepresents the first comprehensive look at the impact of sports in girls' lives, as well as a guide for parents eager to see their daughters succeed. This book arrives at a time when women in sports are achieving record breakthroughs. Witness the twenty-fifth anniversary of Title IX civil rights legislation; the 1996 Summer Olympic Games and 1998 Winter Olympic Games, where female athletes captured our hearts with their guts and glory; and the first spectacular seasons of the WNBA. The popularity of Rebecca Lobo, Mia Hamm, Gabrielle Reece, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee has given rise to a new media darling: the female athlete. It seems almost paradoxical that, just as we are witnessing an explosion of female athletics, books and studies attest to a very different picture of girls' lives, charting the loss of confidence and self-esteem with the onset of puberty. With her bookReviving Ophelia,Mary Pipher was only the latest in a string of theorists to describe the dramatic ways in which girls lose out. Journalists Zimmerman and Reavill set out to talk with girls and their parents, exploring how sports can counteract this disturbing trend and transform girls' lives. Here are first-hand stories from the inner cities and rural playing fields across our country, offering compelling evidence that participation in athletics makes an extraordinary difference in the lives of young girls--from reducing pregnancy rates and substance abuse to increasing college attendance. Indeed, sports may be the most powerful resource that parents can tap in order to raise strong girls. A clarion call for all those eager to help their children succeed and level the playing field, at last.